Mercedes driver George Russell has suggested that action needs to be taken on the “porpoising” phenomenon before someone has a nasty accident.
Mercedes have been bouncing off the track surface again in Baku this weekend as the issue makes a return, and it appears to be a fundamental issue with the chassis and floor itself, because Russell assured after qualifying that the balance felt good through the corners.
The abrasion on the track surface is not just affecting them on the straight in terms of performance, but it is worsening the view Russell and Hamilton have of braking zones, and the lack of grip it causes as the tyres constantly try to find purchase as they oscillate could well cause an incident at some stage.
“It’s just a matter of time before we see a major incident, a lot of us can barely keep the cars in a straight line over these bumps,” explained Russell, quoted by the BBC.
“We are going around the last two corners at 300km/h, bottoming out, you can see how close the cars are running to the ground.
“It’s unnecessary with the technology we have in the current environment running an F1 car at over 200mph millimetres from the ground and it is a recipe for disaster.
“I don’t really know what the future holds but I don’t think we can sustain this for three years or however long these regulations are in force for.”
Hamilton remarked on the radio that the bouncing was getting “dangerous,” and he agrees that something needs to be done to prevent it from becoming a serious hazard.
“It can be safety thing, for sure,” stated the seven-time champion.
“Today it is bottoming through corners at 180mph – big bottoming – and there isn’t really a lot we can do to stop it. We can’t have this for four years of this car.
“They do need to work on it, all the drivers spoke about it.”
Even McLaren and Red Bull – who have typically not struggled too much with the issue this year – have been bouncing in Baku this weekend, so team boss Toto Wolff would like to find out exactly why and how “porpoising” comes about.
“We’ve seen cars that don’t have the issue and then others who have it have it worse, clearly,” said the Austrian.
“I can talk for our two drivers: they are having issues and it goes to a point that even a physio can’t fix it sometimes.
“So, we need to see how that develops and understand also why it’s much tougher in some cars than in others.”
Russell and Hamilton will start the Azerbaijan Grand Prix fifth and seventh respectively.